Title: Availability of Zinc Impacts Interactions between Streptococcus sanguinis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa in Coculture.
Authors: Li, Kewei; Gifford, Alex H; Hampton, Thomas H; O'Toole, George A
Published In J Bacteriol, (2020 01 02)
Abstract: Airway infections associated with cystic fibrosis (CF) are polymicrobial. We reported previously that clinical isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa promote the growth of a variety of streptococcal species. To explore the mechanistic basis of this interaction, we performed a genetic screen to identify mutants of Streptococcus sanginuis SK36 whose growth was no longer enhanced by P. aeruginosa PAO1. Mutations in the zinc uptake systems of S. sanguinis SK36 reduced growth of these strains by 1 to 3 logs compared to that of wild-type S. sanguinis SK36 when grown in coculture with P. aeruginosa PAO1, and exogenous zinc (0.1 to 10 μM) rescued the coculture defect of zinc uptake mutants of S. sanguinis SK36. Zinc uptake mutants of S. sanguinis SK36 had no obvious growth defect in monoculture. Consistent with competition for zinc driving coculture dynamics, S. sanguinis SK36 grown in coculture with P. aeruginosa showed increased expression of zinc uptake genes compared to that of S. sanguinis grown alone. Strains of P. aeruginosa PAO1 defective in zinc transport also supported ∼2-fold more growth by S. sanguinis compared to that in coculture with wild-type P. aeruginosa PAO1. An analysis of 118 CF sputum samples revealed that total zinc levels varied from ∼5 to 145 μM. At relatively low zinc levels, Pseudomonas and Streptococcus spp. were found in approximately equal abundance; at higher zinc levels, we observed a decline in relative abundance of Streptococcus spp., perhaps as a result of increasing zinc toxicity. Together, our data indicate that the relative abundances of these microbes in the CF airway may be impacted by zinc levels.IMPORTANCE Polymicrobial infections in CF cases likely impact patient health, but the mechanism(s) underlying such interactions is poorly understood. Here, we show using an in vitro model system that interactions between Pseudomonas and Streptococcus are modulated by zinc availability, and clinical data are consistent with this model. Together with previous studies, our work supports a role for metal homeostasis as a key factor driving microbial interactions.
PubMed ID: 31685535
MeSH Terms: Biofilms/drug effects; Coculture Techniques; Microbial Interactions/drug effects; Pseudomonas aeruginosa/drug effects; Pseudomonas aeruginosa/metabolism*; Pseudomonas aeruginosa/physiology; Streptococcus sanguis/drug effects; Streptococcus sanguis/metabolism*; Streptococcus sanguis/physiology; Zinc/pharmacology*